Excessive Artificial Lighting can Cause Diabetes, Obesity and Cancer

An international research group, which incorporates a Faculty of the Polytechnic of Oporto, warned this Thursday (22/12) to harm the intensive lighting in environment and health, referring to the increased likelihood of developing diabetes, obesity and cancer (breast and prostate).


“Artificial lighting, with very white LED relief, is potentially harmful to human health due to the blue component very pronounced in your spectrum. Excess lighting is also disturbing ecosystems, fauna flora. On a global scale, the current situation is extremely worrisome, “said researcher Raul Lima, the school of health.


Raul Lima, responsible for the measurements of the brightness of the sky that have been used for the classification of the dark sky Starlight Tourism Destination Dark Sky Alqueva-is one of the two national members of the Management Committee of the European network of Research COST LoNNe ES1204 (Loss of the Night Network),the network that recently finished your activity (2012-2016) with a set of recommendations aimed at making the civil society of the benefits of a careful lighting with the correct color temperature, and not excessive.


These recommendations boil down to four key ideas: “avoid as much as possible, white light with wavelengths below 500 nanometres; direct light to where it is actually needed; lighting of streets as uniform as possible and with the lowest possible intensity and adaptation of outdoor lighting at any time of the night”.


According to the researchers, are more and more studies show that the health effects go beyond what you might assume a few years ago. If disturbances in several species of fauna are known for some time, in the suspected of serious damage has been put in evidence by various studies, which have shown an association between exposure to night light with short wavelengths (blue) and an increased likelihood of developing diabetes, obesity and even some types of cancer (breast and prostate).




White light is a carcinogen in animals


“Epidemiological studies and animals show that white light is a carcinogen. It’s been proven in animals, is not yet in humans, but the studies that are being made on a point the same direction. By different paths, one arrives at the conclusion that there is a greater number of cancer cases in situations where there is exposure to white light”, argued the scientist.



The rapid penetration of LED lighting in public and private, as well as the use of ‘tablets’, ‘smartphones’, computers or LED TVs, came accompanied by a growing concern on the part of the scientific community in this area because “most of the LED used have a spectrum especially Rico in blue”.


Throughout this work four years concluded that “even small amounts of artificial light at the wrong time can affect our internal clock, the release of hormones and even interfere with entire ecosystems,” Raul Lima.


According to the investigator, “satellite images show that Portugal, in particular the coastline, is one of the countries that more street lighting uses and waste, with serious consequences for the environment and human health. You can download the intensity levels currently used and maintain optimum visibility conditions. We need to review all these parameters, because we are light enough without necessity “.


“There’s a lot of lighting in the Portuguese coastal strip, more than other European regions such as Madrid or Barcelona. It should be not only the excess of lamps, but also the construction of them handicapped, because many emit light not down, as it would be advisable, but down, sideways and upwards. The light to the sides and up is not required, it’s just light pollution and energy waste. In Berlin and other European cities, it is still possible to see the milky way, which, for example, in the port is no longer possible since 1983/84. The port does not have the scale of Berlin and, however, has more light, “he said.


However, Raul Lima told Lusa that, in the case of the port, the municipality is sensitized to the problem and is already the work of correction of the problem, adjusting the intensity of the lighting that is recommended.